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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Malaria. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Below is the summary of the major points covered in this course:
  • Blood and tissue parasites create a significate burden worldwide and particularly in low income countries.
  • They are complex and involve both sexual and asexual stages.
  • Malaria causes many deaths and economic burdens and is carried by the Anopheles mosquito.
  • The four Plasmodium species that have been recognized to infect humans are P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. The fifth species that naturally infects macaques and can cause zoonotic malaria in humans is P. knowlesi.
  • P. falciparum is thought to be responsible for roughly 50% of all malaria cases.
  • The life cycle of Plasmodium is very similar amongst the species with exceptions of P. vivax and P. ovale who both have a hypnozoite stage which can cause relapses in infection.
  • Plasmodium species can be distinguished by their varying trophozoite, gametocytic, and schizont forms.
  • The standard tool for diagnosis of malaria is smear examination with two types of smears made: thin and thick
  • Molecular testing for malaria detection is limited to reference laboratories and primarily used for research and epidemiology.
  • After the diagnosis of malaria has been made, treatment should be guided by three main factors: the infecting Plasmodium species, the clinical status of the patient, and the drug susceptibility of the parasites as determined by the geographic area where the infection was acquired.
  • The control, elimination, and eradication of malaria is complicated and consists of interactions between parasite, the human host, and vectors responsible for transmission as well as environmental, social, economic, and behavioral factors.